Following up on last week's article, "Thoughts for the Next Generation of Associate Member,"
I wanted to stay on the associate aspect of the home builders association (HBA) and delve into the structure of an associates committee at the local HBA level, the very body that could help develop future associate leaders while greatly helping the HBA today. Speaking to many HBA staff across the country, I came across the fact that some locals don't have associate committees, and if they do, some are floundering or rudderless. Some.
However, there are many HBAs that have adequate to very good associate committees.
|Its starts with an idea, that leads to many other ideas...|
The value of an engaged associates group can only be perceived by the eye of the beholder or body that approves a committee per HBA bylaws.
As a 30 year veteran of association volunteerism, and for today's article, my eye is focused completely on the value two-thirds of our membership can bring to HBA initiatives and if the HBA is successful, builders have better opportunities to build giving associates more opportunities to sell product or service.
Some examples born from engaged conversation that can be truly maximized by a standing committee are not limited to below but can help get the mental juices flowing:
- Fundraising efforts. Associates are natural sales people. The art of sales is in the skill of being influential. You want to have successful events that make money? Associates can deliver, if they are focused in a collective.
- Associates can absolutely get messages delivered. What better group has far reaching contacts than associates? It's the associate's job to be everywhere there are business opportunities. Being together, through committee, means we can share ideas that are needed to help the HBA (think membership) sell its programs and features turned benefits.
- Networking with a collective group such as a committee generates true value for the HBA. If there is true value perceived, the HBA has 66% of dues and 90+% non dues revenue to fuel its bank account which can lead to wise investments to make money work for the HBA.
- Associates always say "This HBA needs more builders to come to the general membership meeting." Truth be told, I would not care even a little bit if the general membership meeting had light builder attendance. I'm focused not on quick sales and business card overload to a builder, but more so on developing "social capital" which helps me with warm introductions to business opportunities. A committee dedicated to helping associate members is ideal for this type of lead generation. A direct funnel to targeted business is the objective.
- Business course that can be delivered from NAHB Education or develop specific sales training.
- A committee effort to help the associate be more aware of the building industry can only help make them better sales professionals and gives the HBA more voices where needed for influential pro industry discussions. Think Washington, DC or your state capitol.
Items to that add to above points as well as to infuse in committee work;
- Associate awareness of the HBA's advocacy efforts. HBA staff or president can deliver industry updates. Rule number 1;
"if it affects builders it will affect associates. Rule number 2; " If an associate
sells to both builder and associate, refer to rule number 1."
- Educational programs that can help associates with professional growth and give them tools to sell outside the normal product and/or service offerings.
- NAHB's Certified Graduate Associate (CGA) will help associates understand what a builder's life is like and how the associate's product fits in with the home building process. Enormous educational value and additional tools to differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Sales training to teach associates the best way(s) to “sell to a builder.” Round table discussions, highlighting best practices among other items, can be great feature for the committee that can turn into a huge benefit if done correctly.
- Leadership training, growth at the local levels. A leadership training power point, created by NAHB Associates, is now being utilized across the country except here in NJ. It should be utilized for potential HBA local associate leadership as well as state associate leaders. The information contained inside it so much more than just that; it helps to teach associates how to be efficient volunteers, attain chairmanships and how to manage those roles and advance to board of directors and even local leadership.
- 21st Century communications, i.e. social media. Whether you like it or not it's here, it's growing and it will not stop evolving. NAHB Associates on LinkedIn started off slowly and now it's the most talk about group at NAHB, Common phrase "why can't we communicate with the builders like the associates do with each other?" has been asked by national leaders. This type of communication is ideal for the local associates for quick information and housing alerts.
- Speakers that give information and make the associate feel like they learned something new or had something clearly explained Common speak updates on legislative initiatives, regulatory issues, maybe even marketing strategy to help associates market their active roles to a builder in a non self promoting way. Associates who understand the industry which provides them an income can go a long way in overall success and earning power.
- Set up a marketing campaign targeted to encourage builder members to engage active associates with opportunities to build. Opportunities being the key word. The idea is to have builder members make it “top of the list” to seek our bids from associates, particularly those who volunteer their time to help the local HBA. It will be up to each individual associate to be professional, know the builder’s product and who the associate is competing against.
- This committee could also look at creating their very own BEAM Award; Builders Engaging Associate Members. This award could be given annually, within the NAHB’s designated Associate Appreciation Month of September, to the builder who has the greatest amount of associates as vendors. “It’s good business to do business with an associate member!”
- Accessing NAHB associate information. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. However the local associate leaders would be remiss if they didn't at least explore what NAHB associates are working on and utilize the information by incorporating into the local committee.
Those are just 10 bullet points for a possible change in direction and another level of enthusiasm. I hope this can guide you or at least give some direction. As always, please feel free to contact me by clicking on my name below for further discussion or thoughts.
The power of your two-thirds membership can be a major force for the HBA if given the guidance and structure to work as a collective.